What It Takes to Win a Wrongful Death Case

If a loved one has passed away due to another person’s negligence or misconduct, you may be entitled to a monetary recovery through a wrongful death claim. If successful, the damages you receive may cover everything from funeral and any medical expenses to loss of companionship, depending upon the state in which the claim is brought. However, these lawsuits can be emotionally taxing and time-consuming.

At the Ritchie Law Firm, we have helped surviving family members recover compensation for the death of their loved ones. We understand what winning a wrongful death case requires. But, we also understand that surviving family members need compassion and patience throughout the entire legal process.

Winning a Wrongful Death Claim

Not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. In most states, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate—such as the executor of the will—may pursue legal action. They can do this on behalf of close family members, such as a child or spouse.

To win a wrongful death suit, you must provide evidence that shows that the accused acted carelessly and that these actions led to the fatal outcome. Examples of such cases include car accidents — a fatal incident where a drunk driver caused a crash by running a red light — or a incident involving medical malpractice.

Other examples of wrongful death claims include everything from product liability to a workplace accident which caused the death of a worker. Criminal behavior can also cause this type of lawsuit—in fact, in some instances, an accused person could face criminal charges, as well as a civil suit in the form of a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit: How Damages Are Calculated

Finally, for a claim to succeed, the accusing parties must prove they were negatively impacted because of the loved one’s death. Financial or “pecuniary” aspects are the main measure of damages. This includes things like loss of family income, medical costs and funeral expenses.

Some less tangible elements are also considered when calculating damages, such as loss of companionship to a spouse or parental guidance to children. In some states, a beneficiary may be able to recover for emotional distress, or if the individual experienced pain and suffering before passing away, this could also be addressed in a “survival claim.”

Process to File a Wrongful Death Suit

To pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia, it’s important to understand that negligence must be provable to win the claim. Negligence occurs when someone is required to use reasonable care but fails to do so. Negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit would be when someone else’s negligence resulted in a death. Negligence must be proven in wrongful death cases to who that the defendant breached a required duty and establish the defendant’s liability.

Other than having beneficiaries of any possible recovery, a wrongful death lawsuit is very similar to a personal injury claim. To pursue a wrongful death suit, a Complaint is usually filed in the court located nearest to the injury occurred or in the jurisdiction where the deceased individual lived. After the Complaint is filed, an experienced wrongful death attorney will engage in “discovery” to get as much information from the defendant as possible. This information can include things such as insurance policies the defendant may have as well as the minimum care the defendant owed to the deceased individual.

Obtaining witness testimony through depositions is also often a part of the discovery process. This witness testimony can be in the form of expert opinions presented by doctors and other experts or from lay witnesses who knew the deceased.

If your wrongful death suit doesn’t settle before trial, the next step is obviously a trial of your wrongful death suit to a judge or jury. The discovery process is a strategic process to gather as much strong evidence as possible in case the wrongful death suit goes to trial. At trial, an experienced attorney will frame and present the case in such a way that the most compelling evidence is presented to the jury.

Wrongful death trials can be complicated and require a skilled wrongful death attorney to prepare and overcome the legal complexities that come with wrongful death cases.

Wrongful Death Claims Attorney

If your family has suffered a loss due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. You will need a skilled attorney on your side to increase your chances of winning against the insurance company. The wrongful death attorneys attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm have more than 50 years of experience handling wrongful death lawsuits and will help you seek financial compensation for your loss.

If you’re considering a wrongful death claim, speak with a lawyer you trust to assess the strength of your case. With over 50 years of experience, the wrongful death attorney team at the Ritchie Law Firm is committed to pursuing justice for family members who have suffered a tragic loss. Our attorneys are known for their compassionate and communicative approach, especially with clients who may be dealing with losses and possibly have wrongful death lawsuits. We will handle your case with the emotional sensitivity it deserves while fighting aggressively for your rights.









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